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Cook Ready To Step In If Halladay’s Not Ready To Go

(Credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

(Credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Cook is ready, just in case Roy Halladay isn’t.

Halladay, whose start against Baltimore last weekend was cut short after one inning due to a stomach virus, pitched in a minor league game in Clearwater on Saturday. Cook pitched against the Baltimore Orioles and helped the Philadelphia Phillies to a 13-4 win.

Chase Utley homered twice and drove in four runs. Dominic Brown had four RBIs, including a three-run homer. Yuniesky Betancourt also had a three-run homer, and Ryan Howard also went deep.

“If we get five home runs every night, we’ll be a happy team,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Halladay retired just seven of 18 batters Saturday, allowing three runs, seven hits and two walks in four innings with one strikeout.

Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro declined to say much about Halladay, saying he’d talk about him on Sunday.

“He was OK. He got his work in,” Amaro said.

Cook allowed two runs and four hits in 4 2-3 innings.

“It was the best he’s looked all spring,” Manuel said

Signed to a minor league contract, Cook is eager to find out whether he will make the team.

“We’ve got less than a week left; figure out something soon. I’m the type of guy who, I don’t worry about things I can’t control. I go out there and pitch and have fun and let everything figure itself out. That’s the position I’m in right now,” Cook said.

If the Phillies don’t add Cook to the 40-man roster by Tuesday, he can ask for his release or receive $100,000 for accepting a minor league assignment. Cook says he hasn’t been monitoring Halladay’s situation.

“I sit two lockers away. We talk more about non-baseball stuff than we do baseball stuff,” Cook said.

Philadelphia led 10-0 by the fourth, scoring seven runs — six earned — in 3 1-3 innings off Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen.

Chen hadn’t pitched in an exhibition game since March 8 because manager Buck Showalter is trying to keep his confirmed starting pitchers from facing AL East opponents.

“Today, I just didn’t get my job done,” Chen said through his translator. “They timed me really well today. Most of my pitches were up in the zone.”

He refused to blame the windy conditions, which aided both of Utley’s home runs as well as Howard’s.

NOTES: Brian Roberts had two hits for Baltimore and is batting .357. … The Orioles optioned LHP Zach Britton, INFs Yamaico Navarro and Jonathan Schoop to Triple-A Norfolk. RHP Daniel McCutchen was assigned to minor league camp. Britton, who allowed five runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings to Toronto on Wednesday, was Baltimore’s leading winner in 2011. “Mentally, I don’t feel like I was ready to be with the team. I’m sure they saw that,” Britton said. Showalter said he hoped Britton will return soon. “He knows he’s not quite where he needs to be,” Showalter said. … Brown’s home run was his seventh. He has 16 RBIs and a .389 average. … Howard’s was his sixth. He has 15 RBIs.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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